Hamas inflating casualty counts in Gaza – report

A Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs report notes the fallacies in the Gazan Health Ministry’s figures, which it says is all part of Hamas’ “deception strategy.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An Israeli NPO has proven that the high casualty counts Hamas reports during its ongoing war with Israel are propaganda and should not be trusted by journalists, politicians, or the man on the street.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), a think tank that focuses on Israeli national security and antisemitism, published on Sunday a report called “Hamas’ Numbers Warfare.”

The first basic fact that author Prof. Kobi Michael points out is that the terror organization is the government in the Gaza Strip, and controls all departments, including its Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMH), which periodically updates the numbers of dead and wounded. This is an automatic reason to suspect what it says, although, as Michael writes, most media accounts do not note that they are repeating numbers from one side in a war that has as a strategic interest to inflate the victim count in order to elicit sympathy and increase international pressure on Israel for a ceasefire.

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The report notes that the PMH has said that 30,000 Palestinians have been wounded, but no major media or public figure has questioned how this is possible “when the total number of hospital beds in all medical facilities in the Gaza Strip, including UNRWA clinics, did not exceed 3,000 optimally.” So where are they all, it asks.

The number of dead reported is also very problematic, Michael writes, for several reasons. The PMH always attributes all deaths to the IDF. It never mentions the numbers of those killed in rocket launches by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and any other terror group in Gaza that fail and land on their own citizens.

“Israeli radar evidence,” says the report, “shows that errant rockets are about 10% of the total rockets fired.” Since nearly 10,000 of them have been launched at Israel since October 7, this means that there have been almost a thousand such fails to date.

This includes the one that hit the al-Ahli Arab Hospital last month, when the PMH immediately announced that 100 had been killed, revising the number in less than an hour to close to 500. The IDF proved the rocket was fired by the PIJ from right behind the medical center and landed in the parking lot, and according to independent intelligence sources, the actual death toll was between 10 and 50.

The total accidental death count is assumed to be in the hundreds, if not more.

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Hamas’ ministry also acts as if all deaths are those of civilians, with no mention made of casualties among the armed terrorists who are constantly engaging with the IDF. In an interview with Sky News last week, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer reported that 3,000 Hamas members had been killed by Israeli forces. Hundreds more have been killed since then, according to IDF figures.

Another reason to distrust Hamas figures is the illogical leaps in their numbers. The report cites a PMH update on November 5 stating that 10,042 had died so far, and the very next day the number rose to 13,492.

“Did 3,000 people die in one day? And if that casualty number is accurate, where were those killed buried?” the report asks.

Michael’s bottom line is that the Palestinian casualty total is “about half of the number reported by Hamas,” and “at least half of the number of dead and wounded are probably Hamas members, whether armed terrorists, whose identity is disguised as civilians by Hamas, or members of the Hamas establishment.”

Hamas’ huge inflation of its victim count is part of its “deception strategy,” the report concludes, in line with its “strategic goal … to deceive the international public through both creating and exploiting a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and to distract from the real humanitarian crisis of the criminal kidnapping and holding of 241 Israeli and international hostages with the cynical goal of bringing international pressure on Israel to cease military operations to enable Hamas to ensure its survival.”

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